The New Republic announced that their legendary film critic Stanley Kauffmann died early Wednesday morning at the age of 97. A wave of tributes has begun to emerge from those who admired the man who coined the term "the film generation."
Kauffmann, who originally joined TNR in 1958—breaking his tenure there once—published his last piece for the publication in August, looking at the films Our Nixon, Israel: A Home Movie, and Museum Hours. In addition to his wide body of critical work, Kauffmann is being remembered for championing Walker Percy's novel The Moviegoer at Knopf. In 1966 Kauffmann also drew controversy for an essay in the New York Times questioning the ability of gay playwrights to write about topics relating to marriage and society.
TNR is collecting memories of Kauffmann. In one short essay, James Wolcott describes Kauffmann as a "kingly, composed presence on the page (photographs of him made him look like all illustrious head), considering each film on a case by case basis, Kauffmann didn’t seek converts or castigate heretics; he was a congregation of one." David Denby calls Kauffmann an "invaluable critic," while David Thomson explains that Kauffmann "did not found a theory or make a cult out of his opinions. He had a steady and firm belief that amid so much commercial fodder the cinema could produce works of art and imaginative reach to live beside the best of the other arts."
People on Twitter have also been sharing their tributes to Kauffman:
Stanley Kauffmann was born one year after The Birth of a Nation was released. His skeptical glower spanned a century of film. RIP.— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) October 9, 2013
Stanley Kauffmann was probably the first critic I read with real excitement.— D G Myers (@dg_myers) October 9, 2013
Stanley Kauffmann's greatest gift, I've long felt, was to get you to see the vaidity of his opinion even if you didn't share it. RIP— Shawn Levy (@shawnlevy) October 9, 2013
I'll never forgot how Stanley Kauffmann insisted on calling me "Miss Kelly" when we spoke. http://t.co/wszlUAYizo— Hillary Kelly (@HillaryKelly) October 9, 2013
On his blog, Tim Grierson found the words of another dearly departed dean of film criticism, Roger Ebert, had for Kauffmann. Ebert wrote: "But when I read Kauffmann, who became a regular weekly destination for me five years before I wrote my own first reviews, more is at stake; on important films, if we agree, I am gratified, and if we disagree, I am likely to go back to my own review and have another uneasy look at it. It's not that I assume he is right and I am wrong; it's that after Kauffmann disagrees, I wonder if he was perhaps more right."